The O Visa is a temporary work visa for foreign workers who possesses a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who have risen to the top of the field of endeavor, and to certain assistants and immediate family members of such a foreign worker.
Individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics.
Individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry.
Individuals who accompany an O-1 Visa holder to assist in a specific athletic or artistic event or performance.
Individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1s and O-2s.
Those 2 ways are either by receiving an internationally recognized major award, or by assembling evidence from many sources proving the extraordinary ability of the worker. In the latter category, applicants will be expected to provide evidence of a superlative publication record; working in important roles for distinguished organizations, and recommendation letters from professional peers or opinion letters from industry trade groups.
O-1 visas are attractive for many reasons. First, unlike the H-1B visa for skilled workers, the O-1 visa is not subject to an annual quota on the number of visas issued. Second, a the O-1 visa applies to a broader spectrum of jobs than H-1B visas. O-1 visas are available to entertainers, athletes or persons in business or the arts (including culinary arts). Third, O-1 visas are available to persons who are subject to the two-year home residency requirement after completing J-1 visa status. Finally, the O-1 visa is a dual intent visa, meaning that the beneficiary may simultaneously seek permanent resident status while in the U.S.
O-1 temporary work visas are sometimes considered a stepping-stone towards an Extraordinary Ability green card (EB-1A) because the two visas have similar requirements. Our attorneys generally recommend gathering additional evidence before filing an Extraordinary Ability green card application because U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) traditionally applies a higher level of scrutiny to Extraordinary Ability green card cases.